The CEO of the national energy regulator (NERSA), Mr Smunda Mokoena, has expressed his scepticism about Eskom managing and co-ordinating the procurement of new generation capacity. This included independent power producers (IPPs) and cogeneration capacity.
“We are very sceptical that the current process being procured by Eskom, not even by government, is the right way to go. We believe that a professional independent institution should control that procurement process,” he said.
Mokoena said Eskom may be “a little overstretched” dealing with the current electricity situation in South Africa and feels this function should be managed and coordinated by an independent entity.
Late 1990’s government policy stated that any new power stations in South Africa would be built by IPPs. This decision was reversed in late 2004.
“But the problem is, the economics didn’t make sense, and the conditions for IPPs to come into South Africa at that point were simply inappropriate, and they are still – maybe we have made some progress in the last six months – but they are still probably inappropriate,” Chamber of Mines chief economist Roger Baxter said.
Current legislation makes Eskom the sole buyer of any power produced, and Eskom has indicted it would need to secure between 2 100 MW and 4 500 MW of power from independent sources.